I know what you ate last summer

Wednesday 25 April

i know what you ate last summer (4/4) 20.00–21.00

Concluding tonight is this documentary series which has been following six obese British teenagers as they spend two potentially lifechanging months at Wellspring Adventure Camp in California. In tonight’s programme, Adam reaches breaking point; the teens face the moment of truth at their final weigh-in; and we revisit the group two months after they get home to see how they’ve been getting on since leaving Wellspring.

With only one week left until they leave the supportive, safe atmosphere of Wellspring, the six teenagers have one more challenge to get through. They’re going to be undertaking an eight-mile hike into the Sierra Nevada mountains – but this time there won’t be any horses to carry them if things get tough, and the teens will have to tote their own backpacks. Adam, who has been coming up with excuse after excuse to avoid exercise, doesn’t want to go, blaming his foot injury – but when a doctor gives him the all-clear and a call to his parents fails to get him off the trek, Adam realises that he is just going to have to knuckle down and get on with it.

As the trek begins, Adam is struggling because his fitness levels are well behind those of the other teens. But he keeps going, as does Emmanuella, who has also struggled and did the last trek on horseback. Also doing well is Alyssa, who refused point-blank to come on the first trek. This time, everyone makes it to the top.

Back at base, the group are about to face their final fitness test: the timed mile, which will show the teens how much their fitness has improved over the course of their time at Wellspring. Jorjie knocks five minutes off her time, while Alyssa walks the mile but still manages to reduce her original time by ten minutes. Adam has also cut his time and is very pleased with himself: “I’ve got a stitch and I’m sore, but I feel great!”

The teens’ fitness has clearly improved, but how will they fare at the final weigh-in? Has a daily regime of 10,000 steps and 1,200 calories been worth it? As the group take it in turns to step onto the scales, they find out that it certainly has. Lizzie, who threw herself into the programme from day one, has lost an astonishing 43.3 pounds, while her sister Emmanuella has lost 32.4. Nyondo has lost 32.4, and Alyssa, who knows that she could have lost more, has still managed to lose 27 pounds. Jorjie has lost 22, and Adam is down 32.2.

Everyone is pleased with themselves – they’ve all achieved a huge amount in the two months that they have spent at Wellspring. After a clothesshopping session – which, for the first time in years, the teens have found to be a fun activity – the group have one more seminar with behavioural coach Whitney to get some advice on how to handle their imminent return home. The past two months have seen the establishment of firm friendships, and the group are apprehensive about leaving the support network that they have built up at Wellspring. However, the staff are well aware of the challenges that the teens are about to face, and are not going to let them go home without the tools they need to cope. “We’ve been preparing the kids for this point from day one,” says camp director Ryan.

When the group’s family and friends greet them at the airport, they can’t believe their eyes – Jorjie’s mother says that she doesn’t even recognise her daughter! But when the initial euphoria has dissipated, how will our six teens cope with normal life? We revisit them two months on to find out if they’ve turned back into lazy junk-food addicts – or whether they have built on their amazing achievement and kept up the good work.

i know what you ate last summer (3/4)

This documentary series follows six obese British teenagers as they spend two potentially lifechanging months at Wellspring Adventure Camp in California. In tonight’s programme, the group return from their mountain hike, Nyondo gets into trouble when he breaks the camp rule forbidding romance, and Alyssa finally turns a corner.

It’s three weeks into the group’s time at Wellspring and it has proved emotionally and physically tiring for Alyssa, Nyondo (AKA Eddie), Adam, Jorjie and twins Lizzie and Emmanuella. They’ve learned that exercise can be fun; realised that healthy eating doesn’t necessarily mean boring food; and learned how to shop wisely. Six of them have even hiked eight miles up a mountain – while rebellious Alyssa and injured Adam wait at the bottom – and are enjoying themselves at the top. They’re losing their inhibitions and behaving like normal teenagers – and their new-found confidence is also being applied with regard to the opposite sex. Physical relationships are strictly forbidden at the camp, as they can destabilise the group, but Nyondo has secretly been seeing Christina, one of the American girls attending the camp. Despite being warned by camp counsellors about appropriate boundaries, Nyondo remains defiant and decides to keep seeing Christina.

At seven o’clock the next morning, the teens are in high spirits: it’s time to head back to civilisation, and it’s downhill most of the way. Emmanuella is suffering from a bad ankle, but vows to stick it out. However, her ankle gives her so much trouble that she has to stop. “‘I wanna go to fat camp, I wanna go to fat camp’… what was I thinking?” she mutters, before hitching a lift on a horse for the rest of the journey – which she also did on the way up. When she gets to the bottom, Emmanuella admits that she feels as if she has failed somewhat; she’s lagging behind sister Lizzie, who, by contrast, has really thrown herself into the project.

Alyssa has also been having problems. Having refused to hike up the mountain with the others, she is finding the whole experience difficult to handle. She is allowed a call home to her mother, overseen by the camp director and Alyssa’s behavioural coach Whitney, and begs to be allowed to come home. Her pleas fall don’t cut any slack with her mother, who says: “Don’t tell me that you’re going to be happy to come home and be fat, because that’s a load of rubbish.” Alyssa is still determined to get out of Wellspring: “I’m going to get myself sent home,” she vows. “You watch.”

The rest of the gang are delighted to be out of their tents and back at the Academy of the Sierras – and their enthusiasm seems to have affected Alyssa, who starts cheering up and writes her mother a letter. She’s decided to stay, and finds herself loving the exercise session after lunch. “I knew I could lose weight,” she says, “but I didn’t think I could do it like this – and enjoy doing it as well!” However, the exercise session ends in disaster when Nyondo falls during a tug-of-war competition and fractures his wrist. He’s carted off to hospital, where he has an operation to set the bone. He’s out of hospital within a couple of hours, and watches sorrowfully as the others enjoy a surfing lesson.

Also this week, the teens get a lesson in low-fat cookery; the weigh-in brings unwelcome surprises for some; Nyondo is punished for breaking the rules, and is sad when Christina decide to leave; a dance is organised to say goodbye to the Academy; and the group find sticking to the programme a challenge when they visit a local restaurant. Some, like Adam, throw caution to the wind and opt for high-fat choices like steak, icecream and chips – but others manage to restrain themselves and stick to the low-calorie menu. With another four weeks to go, will the group keep up their good work and be able to maintain this momentum?

i know what you ate last summer
(2/4) 20.00–21.00

This documentary series follows six obese British teenagers as they spend two potentially lifechanging months at Wellspring Adventure Camp in California. In tonight’s programme, the physical regime starts to kick in; the group prepares for a punishing mountain hike in the Sierras; and the kids find out if they have lost any pounds at the first weigh-in.

The hard work of the previous fortnight at the camp is beginning to show – especially in terms of the amount of sweat the kids are producing. Today there is a surprise in store for the children: they are going white-water rafting on the Kings River. “I’m scared out of my head!” says Emmanuella. This hair-raising expedition is designed to boost self confidence, and show inactive kids that anything is possible. It is a first for all the British kids, but Emmanuella in particular takes to it like a duck to water. It is very strenuous, but the group learns that burning off calories can actually be fun. “That was one of the most exhilarating, exciting experiences of my life!” says Jorjie. “I haven’t seen so many smiles in years,” adds camp instructor Jed.

The kids will soon be heading deep into the mountains, but first they stop off at the Academy of the Sierras (AOS). A unique boarding school for obese teens, AOS will be their base camp, where they can clean up, get provisions and have their first weigh-in. They will sleep on a dormitory floor – luxury bedding after camping for two weeks – and get to do some washing! “It’s a smell I never even thought I possessed,” jokes Jorjie, disgusted at the state of her trainers.

Later, it is time for the weigh-in. Will the kids’ cycling, snorkelling, running and walking have paid off? Jorjie feels toned, but does not think she has lost weight – so she is delighted at the news that she has lost seven pounds. Adam has lost just over that; Alyssa has dropped almost a stone; and Nyondo screams with joy when he is told that he has lost just over eight pounds. The heaviest of the group, starting off at 23 stone, Emmanuella is staggered to hear that she has lost 14.2 pounds; and her twin, Lizzie, has lost 24! “I know that I can do it now,” says Lizzie later. “Whereas before I thought, ‘No, it’s not working’.”

At AOS, the emphasis is on educating the children so that they do not put all the weight back on when they get home – something of which Alyssa is particularly afraid. Tonight they will face a real challenge: they are going to a restaurant where they can choose whatever they want. Portion control proves painful but effective for some – but Adam realises afterwards that he probably should have avoided the burger, fries and coleslaw that packed 40 grams of fat.

When the stay at AOS comes to an end, the kids begin to prepare for their hike. They will be camping in survival conditions at altitudes of 9,000 feet and at temperatures of 30 degrees. They will have the option of getting on a horse at any point – the hardest test of willpower so far. Camp instructor Jessica calls the trip “the biggest physical and mental challenge so far”, and describes it as a metaphysical and literal journey from sea level to peak.

The prospect of the arduous journey is not welcomed by Alyssa, whose crippling homesickness is getting worse. “There are no words to explain how badly I just want to go home,” she says. Her mother begs her to stay, and behavioural coach Whitney tries to talk Alyssa through this bad patch. “If you’re changing your life for the better,” she says, “eight weeks is nothing.” But Alyssa ends up refusing to participate in the hike, resulting in her resentful group being delayed while the others get a head-start. Instructor Jed is brought in to try and talk some sense into her – but will his “tough love” tactics do the trick?

I know what you ate last summer (1/4), Wednesday 4 April, 20.00

In this new documentary series, six obese British teenagers spend two months at Wellspring Adventure Camp in California – a revolutionary weightloss programme for children. During their stay, the group will be given the knowledge, skills and motivation they need to change their lives forever. It will be an emotional and physical odyssey – and the toughest challenge they have ever faced in their young lives. Wellspring claims that its pioneering approach has long-term results, but will it work for our six?

In this opening programme, we meet the teens who have been picked from hundreds of applicants – Emmanuella, Adam, Lizzie, Alyssa, Nyondo and Jorjie – and hear their stories. After being waved off at the airport by their tearful parents, they can only imagine what lies ahead. Parted from television, junk food and luxuries, they will be camping and trekking round the Californian wilderness, taking lessons in nutrition and eating only 1,200 calories a day – just a fraction of their usual intake.

The group bonds quickly, although there is one member who is finding it harder to integrate. Belfast lad Adam seems subdued, and is dreading life without junk food. He refuses to take part in the first activity – snorkelling in the Pacific – and desperately wants to call his family back home, but camp rules discourage phone calls until two weeks after arrival, based on the notion that contact with home serves only to heighten homesickness. The others, however, embrace the snorkelling challenge – and because it’s such good fun, they hardly realise they’ve been exercising quite hard.

At the end of a long day, everyone sits down to a dinner of egg, burgers and English muffins – or, more specifically, low-fat egg substitute, low-fat buffalo burgers and low-fat muffin. This is one activity Adam will not be missing out on, and he seems delighted with what he’s been given – a far cry from the salad leaves everyone had dreaded. Camp nutritionist Jackie says: “What we’re doing is re-educating the kids on what is healthy and why it’s important to eat low-fat food.”

Next day, the real work starts. Everyone is woken up at 6.30am for some pre-breakfast stretching. Later, it is time for the one-mile challenge, where each participant attempts to cover a mile as fast or slow as they choose. The camp staff deliberately avoid pressurising them, believing that success will only come if they motivate themselves. All of them complete the mile, although Adam is disgusted at how hard he finds it, and Alyssa and Lizzie both walk the entire way and come last. Jorjie and Nyondo, meanwhile, seem to be relishing the competitive side to camp life. Will their good attitude last? A treat of blueberry pancakes – lowfat, of course – is everyone’s reward.

The fact that low-fat food can taste so good is a revelation to all the teenagers. “I think the food here is far better than the food at home. No offence, Mum!” says Nyondo. To reinforce the good habits being instilled, everyone is taken on a trip to the supermarket to study the labels on junk food, where it suddenly dawns on the children exactly how much fat they have been consuming back home. However, it is still hard to resist the many temptations of the shelves. “All this stuff is sinfully good!” says Adam, as he ogles pizzas and ice cream. But like the others, he must return to camp for a dinner of low-fat stir-fry instead.

Most of the kids seem to be buying into Wellspring’s active lifestyle – “I feel different already,” says Lizzie after just three days. But as night falls and the reality that they will be spending a whole two months here sinks in, their personal video diaries reveal their fears and frustrations as well as their hopes and triumphs. Will they all last the course, and if they do, will the experience have a lasting effect for the better?

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1